Reno - 4:59 pm on Oct 22, 2011 (gmt 0)
This whole notion of Google doing us some sort of favor by sending "free traffic" so we can make "free money" is off the mark in my opinion.
In the beginning, things were kind of ideal: We (the webmaster community) created the content which cost us time & money; Google then crawled our sites and provided to their users a synopsis of the content, with a relevance ranking, to make it easier for their users to find what they were looking for.
So far, so good, and with every passing day this model made Google more & more popular with the public and the press.
Then Google added their hugely successful PPC model, so a certain part of the screen real estate began generating income for them.
Again, most everyone understood that and accepted it without complaining ~ like us, they had every right (and need) to generate an income stream.
Then things changed ~ Google became the most influential and powerful internet company, overwhelmingly dominating the entry point for most websurfers. They were/are/will be the gateway. They became a verb, as in "you can Google that address". To survive on the internet without Google became more & more difficult. Not impossible, but difficult.
Then things changed some more ~ they began laying down the law: They let it be known that link exchanges could hurt you; they wanted rel=nofollow; they began looking at factors that were outside of your control, such as who else was on your virtual servers; and yada yada yada.
At any point in the chain they could implement one of their much beloved penalties, so without notice you'd wake up one morning and would wonder what in the heck happened. They told you nothing ~ as any dictator knows, that's an extremely powerful control mechanism ~ potential terror without reason.
Then they changed some more, as they bought up companies and integrated those urls into most search results. They added more sponsored listings. They shrunk the on-screen real estate for the organics to lower and lower percentages. They favored certain big-brand "trusted" sites.
They began gathering data about you. They know what sites you own; they know your surfing history; they read your gmail. They've got your profile. They know more about you than your neighbors.
And much of the webmaster community watched with dismay as their daily traffic numbers went down down down. Jeez, what a surprise.
By this point, the symbiotic "partnership" of the early days was LONG dead. It is just taking some of us much longer to figure that out.
Google is not your friend. Google is not your partner. Google is not a service that you can depend on, and they haven't been for a long long time.
To survive in the PardaWorld, you must learn to live without Google. It's the only way. Otherwise, like the OP, you fold the cards and sell your site to someone else who may give it fresh energy. And if they quickly die, you'll be glad you got out when you did, and got what you could.
Whew, dodged that bullet.
That's life in PandaWorld. And so anyone still in this game thinking that Google will dependably be there for them in the coming years is, in my opinion, very possibly doomed to extinction.
Getting out while we can is looking better & better all the time.